* Prices may differ from that shown
Ok I realise this is long, but I hope it will help someone planning a trip to chessington, don't feel obliged to read it <3
We are lucky enough to have Merlin passes and so enjoy Chessington World of adventures on a regular basis. I know planning a day out can be hard work, especially when you have to think of children. It costs a lot of money and you want to make sure you are choosing the right place and that it will have all the facilities you need and want.
I thought it would try and write a review to help you decide if Chessington is a good choice for you and how to make the most of your day if you do go there.
What is Chessington World of Adventures ? - Well it is a unique mix of theme park and zoo, there are so many rides and attractions I really feel that whatever your age and adrenalin junkie status you will find something for you.
The Theme part of the park is divided into 9 'lands', each land has it's own theme and is decorated as such. There is also the Zoo and Sealife centre. I will go through each section of the park in a little more detail at the end. But wanted to do the facilities and my top tips first.
First my top ten tips.
1) Get there early, the park opens half an hour before the advertised time, there are a few rides that start early too, usually vampire and Dragons fury but check when you get to the gate. Even if the ride you want is not open go to the queue line so you will be first on. The big rides queue times go from 0 -60 mins in seconds.
2) If you are thinking of buying the rides photos, don't buy them as soon as you get off the ride, take the number at get them at the end. You get a better deal for buying more than one and also it will save you from carrying them around.
3) Don't miss Lorikeet lagoon - it is hidden and easily missed but it is one of the best bits of the park.
4) When you get there get a map with the show times, so you don't miss a thing or if you are not into the shows you can plan to go to a 'big' ride at that time as the queues will be shorter.
5) The ride close time is when the queue line closes not when the ride closes so get there a few minutes before the close time and you can still ride.
6) Get your parking ticket when you arrive, the queues are huge at the end of the day.
7) Don't pay gate price for tickets. There are always buy one get one free deals, money off vouchers going around or at the very least book online for a saving.
8) If it rains keep your ticket - if it rains continuously for more than an hour whilst you are there, they will give you free entry another day.
9) Measure your child either before you go or as soon as you get there so you can plan what rides you can go on and ignore any unsuitable rides.
10) If Driving leave a bit early or a bit late otherwise you will just be sat in the car park waiting in a huge queue to leave.
Right facilities are fabulous in Chessington -
Toilets - Throughout the park you will find plenty of toilets and baby changing areas, they are all in pretty good shape and looked after with the exception of the ones by the log ride, these are always pretty disgusting so avoid if you can.
First Aid - There is a main first aid centre in forbidden kingdom, but there are plenty of mobile first aiders, if you need one just ask any member of staff and they will radio for one. I have seen first hand how quick and capable they are.
Drinks - There are loads of places selling tea and coffee and it is not overly priced for this sort of venue around the £2 mark. If fizzy drinks are your thing I really recommend buying an unlimited cup, it costs £6 for the day and you can fill it up as much as you want for the whole day and keep the cup at the end. Make sure you keep the reciept as you will need it. If you have an annual pass there is a similar cup for £16 which lasts the whole year.
Eating there - They no longer have a burger king or any branded food outlets, however there really is an abundance of eateries and you will not go hungry. There is a noodle bar, fish and chips, Pizza buffet, sandwich bar, general cafe selling jacket potatoes etc, Burger palace, mexican, a fried chicken place and main restaurant selling chicken, burgers, lasagne etc. There are also many 'stalls'selling popcorn, sweets, waffles, ice cream and donuts. I have not eaten in all of them but I have tried a few, the vampire burger kitchen, this is basically a glorified Mcdonalds for the four of us, three adult meals and one childs it cost in the region of £20. It was OK, nothing special and quite small portions. The sandwhich bar is nice but quite expensive for a sandwich. Our favourite place is the pizza bar, it is a help yourself, eat as much as you want salad, pizza and pasta and endless fizzy drinks. It is £9.99 for adults (over 11) and £5.99 for children. You get 20% if you have an annual pass.
Picnics- There are plenty of places for a picnic throughout the park, so if you want to save some money, don't really like eating out or have fussy eaters you will not find it difficult to find a spot to pitch up and enjoy your lunch. If we drive we leave the picnic in a cool bag in the car and pop out to get it when we are ready. If you don't have passes they will stamp your hand. There are lockers if you don't want to carry it around the park. For a small locker the prices are, £1 for up to 1 hour or £5 for the whole day.
Big lockers are £2 for up to 1 hour or £10 for the whole day. You can go back as many times as you want during the day. We sometimes use these when we take the train.
Guest services- Here is where you would go for lost children, wristbands with your details on, buggy hire etc. Also if you have a disabled or person with certain special needs in your group, make sure you go to guest services where they will give you a wrist band which will allow you to enter rides without queuing. I haven't used this facility so am unsure of the full details.
Fast track - you can pay for a fast track pass which will allow you to get on certain rides without queuing, the prices vary but it costs about £5 per person per ride or you can buy a one day unlimited fast track which costs £60 per person.
Seat sizes - This is something that genuinely worries me, I am a size 18 -20 and I have in the past avoided rides through fear of me not fitting in the restraints. I have been on every ride at chessington and can safely say I fit with ease even the kiddie rides, I have seen much much bigger people on the rides too. The guideline for most rides is that they will fit people with a torso under 51".
The zoo -
Like the park the zoo is split into sections, it is all very close by with the exception of the Wanyama Village & Reserve this is based next to the Zufari ride and you can see Zebras, hippos, giraffesand meerkats.
The rest of the zoo is all in one part of the park, it includes
Monkey trail where you will see spider monkeys, Tamirins and marmosets.
Childrens zoo, where you can stroke the goats and pigs.
Trail of the kings- you will all the big guns of the wild, lions, gorillas, tigers and leopards.
Penguins and otters - This is split into two spaces. There is two talks a day at the penguin pool.
Sea lions - Our favourite show there are four sea lions at the zoo, they are beautiful. There are two shows a day the content can vary depending on what sea lion does the show.
Creepy caves - a small walk through cave with all the usual creepy crawlies, spiders, snails, lizards etc.
Sealife centre - lots of underwater fun here there are loads ofgorgeous fish including Rays, jelly fish, star fish and amazing sea horses. There are loads of daily talks and feeding. Which are well worth a look
The lands and rides
Mystic East - This is home to the famous log ride, it is very oriental with lanterns, buddas and dragons decorating the pathways. In this land you will find two rides.
Dragon Falls - Log ride, with two 'drops'. This is one of my family's favourite rides. You don't get sopping wet so it is fine to go on at any time of day. They can fit five to a boat and children have to be 1.2 metres to ride.
Peeking heights - This is a big wheel. Beware they only fill three cages at a time, so a short queue doesn't necessarily mean a short wait. Any height can ride this but children under 1.1 metres need to ride with an adult.
There is also a arcade, digging for gold, a climbing wall and those big zorbing balls on water. All of these are all payable, I know the water balls are £5 for a five minute session. We do not do any of these things as I think it is expensive enough as it is.
Pirates cove - This is not a big land it is more of a gap filler, you will find two rides here.
Seastorm - This is little boats that go around like a merry go round but much faster. It looks like a 'baby' ride but is actually quite fast. Children nee to be 0.9 metres tall.
Black Buccaneer - Oh my life, this ride is stomach turning, it is a traditional 'mary rose' swinging boat, it goes high and fast. Minimum height is 1 metre but under 1.3 need an adult to ride.
Transylvania - This is where you will find two of the parks most famous rides -
Vampire ride - This is where you will fly through the air like a vampire. It is fast but not really scary and I am a bit of a scaredy cat. Minimum height is 1.1 metres, under 1.3 need an adult.
The Bubble works - My favourite ride, You sit in a tub which can seat up to five. Then ride through professor bubble works factory, see the ducks hard at work and play. Eventually end up in the waterfall lagoon, you will get a little bit wet. This is really a family favourite suitable for all and lts of fun- No height restriction but under 1.1 need an adult to ride with them.
Transylvania is where you can have you face painted or hair braided, there is also caricatures. I know a full face paint is £7. You can have eye designs for £5.
Mexicana - This is wild west with cowboy shooting and dusty paths. Home to two rides
The runaway train - this is a wild train that flies through the mountains, really quite fast,so hold on to your hats. This is my second favourite ride. It is good fun without making you feel sick. Minimum height 0.9 metres, so even younger children can enjoy this.
Rattlesnake - This is the scariest ride in Chessington, it is a fully fledged roller coaster with dips, twists and turns. I don't like it one little bit, but my husband and daughter love it. You need to be 1.4 metres to ride so not for little ones.
Wild Asia - This is the biggest of the lands, actually it is not the biggest but it has the most rides and attractions. You will find.
Monkey swingers - This is a great ride, you sit in a swing and fly high and fast around the park. I always feel really dizzy for about ten minutes after. Min height 1.2 metres.
Tuk tuk turmoil - This is traditional bumper cars, always great fun. Minimum height is 0.9 but anyone under 1.3 needs to be with an adult who has to drive.
Jungle bus - This looks like scooby doos magic bus, it is fairly slow and just goes round in a circle, my son says it makes his tummy jump. Ideal for little people. Min height 0.9 metres.
Temple of Mayhem - This is just for little kids, they can gather up lots of little foam balls and shoot them across the 'temple' using the cannons and guns. It is great for a bit of respite from queues and the sun.
Lorikeet Lagoon - DO NOT MISS !! We had been to Chessington about six times before we saw or noticed this attraction, it is amazing. It is hidden behind 'temple of mayhem'. Rainbow lorikeet birds just flying free. You can buy a pot of nectar for £1 and they come and feed of your hands. It is totally amazing and the best pound you will spend all day. You don't need to buy the food, you can walk through without feeding. They say when you buy the food that they may not feed, but we have been about ten times and they have always fed.
Kobra -This is a big snake ride, where you sit in a circle and it spins round really fast like a round about, then it goes up and down. When you look at it you would think it would be terrifying but it is actually not scary just fast, it is not stomach churning.
I will mention the shop here as it has real snakes in it, which are worth a look if you have a spare minute of two.
Land of the Dragons - This is the best land for little children with every thing suitable for very small children except the Dragons fury ride. Here you will find
Dragons play house - a soft play area, great for taking the little ones whilst bigger ones are queuing for the fast rides. Maximum height is 1.4 metres
Canopy Capers - This is a big tree house with slides and rope bridges, again only little children are allowed in and they are strict on this, which is great as they are safe from teens racing through etc. Max height 1.4 metres.
Sea dragons - little boat merry go round, very slow suitable for very small children, although under 1.1 need an adult.
Dragons Fury - This is my eight year old sons favourite ride, it is a roller coaster with so many spins and twists that it makes you feel like you are going to come of the track. Not for the faint hearted. Min height 1.2 metres.
Griffin's Galleon - this is like the Black Buccaneer but not as fast or height. Great for little children minimum height is 0.9 metres.
There is a cafe here which has talks on animals about three times a day, the animals are things like snakes, snails, spiders etc and last about twenty minutes. They are really interesting and worth going to if you are in the area.
This is home to the main stage and Madagasca live. There are meet and greets with most of the characters throughout the day.
Madagasca live - I won't give the story line away but it is a great interactive show with songs, dancing and all the characters from Madagasca, lasts about fifteen minutes and is shown three times a day. There is one at one o'clock and if we bring a picnic we sometimes go and watch it whilst we eat our sarnies.
Toadies cars - A fab little car ride around Mr moles garden. two children can 'drive' at the front and two adults sit as the back as passengers. - No minimum height.
Jungle Bouncers - This is a great little ride for children - they sit in and it jumps up and down. Not really suitable for adults. minimum height 0.9 metres.
Forbidden kingdom -
The Egyptian themed land which is home to my daughters favourite ride - Ramses revenge you will also find.
Tomb blaster - this is a great laser shooting game ride where you go through the tunnels and pyramids to fight the evil mummies. It is good fun and can be quite competitive as it shows you your score, I am the family champion at the moment - whoop whoop !!
The big first aid centre is here too, should you need it.
Zufari - This is the newest land in chessington and home to the brand new safari ride.
Flying Dumbo - The original flying elephants, great fun for all the family, you control how high you go by pushing the button. No minimum.
Zufari - ride into Africa - Well this is really hit and miss and as it is a new ride the queues are extreamly long even at the start of the day. We queued for 75 mins one day and we only saw some giraffes in the distance, but other times we have been we have seen hippos, zebras and flamingos, it obviously depends on if the animals are close or in their huts etc. On a good day it is a brilliant safari ride but on a bad day it is really bad and a waste of time queuing for so long. So I would suggest asking people who have just got off what animals they saw so you can decide.
Market Square -
The central hub of chessington, it has the main shops, resturants, toilets and a few rides
Tiny truckers - A car ride for small children, they don't actually drive but it makes them feel like they are. No height limit.
Carousel -A magical lovely experience for all the family,choose from the traditional horses or a princess carriage, lasts a good five minutes.
Hocus Pocus Hall - you are given 3D glasses as you enter and then take a disorientating walk through this weird house there are mirrors, glow in the dark and spinning walkways - you will be dizzy when you come out.
Safari skyway - I think this is a must, it is a sky tram ride around the park, it goes over the zoo so you will get to see the animals as you go past. There is a commentary as you go round but it is very quiet. -No min height.
Ticket prices - there are plenty of ticket choices from family, student, child etc. Gate prices at present are
Family Saver for 2
1 Adult + 1 Child £60.00
Family Saver for 3
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £90.00
Family Saver for 4
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £120.00
Family Saver for 5
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £150.00
Family Saver for 6
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £180.00
12+ years £43.20
Young Adventurers (Child)
Aged under 12 and taller than 0.9 metres. £31.20
Valid Student ID card required £31.20
Aged 60 years and over £31.20
Includes 1 free helper £43.20
Includes 1 free helper £31.20
Additional Disabled Helpers £21.60
But if you book online at least 7 days in advance you can save 25%. They also accept Tesco Vouchers.
Where is it -
Chessington is situated on the A243, just two miles from the A3 and M25 (junction 9 or 10).
It is about a ten minute walk from Chessington South train station, we often go by train and it is a really straightforward walk. There are also lots of bus stops right outside the gate.
Final words - I would say Chessington world of adventures is aimed at families with young children, as said previously there is something for everyone to do but I think the majority of the rides are aimed at children. My children are 8 and 13 and love it, we go a LOT and they never get bored, sometimes we don't go on any of the rides but spend our time going to all the animal talks and shows and other times we don't see any animals. I would say if your child is under 0.9 then apart from the play area and animals there isn't that much to do for them. Equally if your child is a thrill seeker I think nearby Thorpe park would be a better option. I would say it would take more than a day to enjoy everything Chessington has to offer, but if you are clever and use your time wisely you should get all the main attractions done.
My partner and I tend to visit Chessignton World Of Adventures a couple of times a year.
Chessington World of Adventure's is located just off junction 9 on the M25 and is very well signposted so finding this attraction isn't an issue at all.
If you plan to purchase tickets when you arrive then you will be charged the following prices:
Adult (12 years and over) - £31
Child - £21
Under 1 metre - Free
Family of 3 - £66
Family of 4 - £86
Family of 5 - £104
There are certain discounts you can get if you book through their website before you visit and they also accept vouchers such as Tesco Clubcard and the Walkers Brit Trips. We used vouchers from the Brit Trips which meant that for 2 adults we were charged £31 which I thought was fairly reasonable.
For 2008, Chessington opened on 15th March and will close again on 29th December. Opening times are seasonal with the park being open from 10am - 6pm during peak season and 10am - 5pm off peak. The park is open between 10am and 8pm during Halloween and over Christmas it is open between 10am and 3pm. The Zoo and Sea Life Centre is open between 10am and 3pm but the opening hours are also seasonal. Your best bet is to check the website before you travel to make sure that the park is open.
Parking The Car
There is a massive car park at Chessington. Each section of the car park is labelled so it is very easy to find your car among all the others that have also parked there. You are charged £2 for all day parking.
Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington is laid out in different areas and maps are available free of charge when you first enter the park. We found the map very useful when finding our way between the different zones so I would highly recommend getting one although having said that, the park is very well sign posted and there is always a member of staff available to ask if your lost.
As you first enter the park, you will see Chessington Zoo on the right hand side which is also in the ground of the theme park.
In the zoo area there area several sections which include a children's zoo, a creature features section and a monkey and bird garden. There are many animals held here and Chessington actually take part in an International Breeding programme which helps to breed endangered species such as gorillas and tigers. All of the enclosures were large, clean and obviously well looked after. Each enclosure has been designed to look like the natural habitat of the animal inside and all the animals look happy and healthy. Some of the animals that can be seen here include Tigers, Lions, Gorilla, Meercats, Otters, Goats and Ostriches just to name a few.
The zoo is actually split into two sections, with some of it being just inside the entrance (like the children's zoo and the monkey and bird garden) and the rest being a short walk away (like the Tigers, Lions, etc). There is also a large Sea Lion enclosure which includes a lovely deep pool for them to swim and play in. The animals are fed at various times and visitors are invited to come and watch and learn a bit more about each animal as the keepers give a speech. The feeding times are displayed on a board as you enter the zoo and at various points inside the zoo so it is really easy to find out the various feeding times and make sure you don't miss them.
In the middle of Chessigton World of Adventures, there is a large green area and twice a day, some of the animals are taken to this area and the keepers put on a display with them. We caught the tail end of a Bird display which included parrots and a beautiful Kookaburra.
On the left hand side as you walk into Chessington World of Adventures, there is the Sea Life Centre which is brand new for 2008. I liked the fact that you paid one entrance fee and that got you into the theme park and you can also visit the Zoo and the Sea Life Centre.
Sea Life Centre
As I already mentioned, the Sea Life Centre is the brand new attraction of 2008 and this certainly shows. Inside it was absolutely spotless and the aquariums had been well designed in all different shapes and sizes. There are various species of fish and crustaceans to be seen in here and all the aquariums are sign posted meaning you are able to identify each fish you are looking at and read a few facts about them. Inside the Sea Life Centre, there is also a large walk through tunnel which is part of the largest aquarium here. When you walk through the tunnel you can see a wonderful array of fish swimming over the top of your head including rays and sharks. To be honest, we didn't spend very long in the Sea Life Centre as it was the last place we visited and we were running out of time although I would have liked to have spent a bit longer in here. One downside to the Sea Life Centre was that it was quite busy (even though the theme park itself wasn't) and there were quite often large groups of people crowded round an aquarium which meant there was quite a bit of waiting around if you wanted to get a good look inside the aquarium. I assume that because this is the new attraction for 2008, every man and his dog wanted to visit it.
In the Transylvania section there are two of the big attractions which are the Bubbleworks Ride and the Vampire Ride. There is also a Fangtasia gift shop which sells a variety of souvenirs which are mostly based around the Vampire Ride.
I would describe this ride as a children's ride and I remember absolutely loving it when I visited Chessington as a child. My boyfriend has never visited this attraction so of course I dragged him onto this ride. Bubbleworks is a water ride where you can seat up to four passengers in a little round boat. You travel around the ride and the idea is you learn how bubbles are made by watching a number of moving displays as you make your way round. There is a small slope at the end of the ride but you barely get splashed so there's no need to worry about getting wet. At the very end of the ride, you travel through a tunnel of water (where the water shorts over the top of your head and down the other side). In here, there is also strobe lighting and I have to say it makes the end of the ride really beautiful. This ride isn't anything earth shattering to someone of my age (24) but it is a wonderful children's ride.
The Vampire ride is a fast roller coaster where you are strapped into your seat and your feet are left dangling. The ride consists of you shooting around the track (which is above you) and you go through dark caves and around very tight corners on the way. This roller coaster is set quite high within the park so the idea is that you feel like you are flying.
In this area you will find another two rides which are the Sea Storm and the Black Buccaneer. There is also a Chips Ahoy eatery where you can get Fish n Chips.
The Sea Storm consists of about 20 boats which can seat up to four people, two in the front and two in the back. The ride is meant to simulate a sea storm so you basically travel round on a sort of carousel while being lifted up and down. I must admit that I though this ride looked quite tame but as the boats travel up and down and over the bumps, it certainly makes your stomach drop.
The Black Buccaneer is a large boat which can probably seat up to 50 people (at a guess). The boat has rows of seats that all face towards the middle which means that you are facing all the people in the other half of the boat. The boat travels back and forth over and over again and it actually goes pretty high. Again, I thought this ride looked pretty tame but it was actually the ride which made my stomach lurch the most.
Land of The Dragons
The Land of The Dragons is mostly aimed at children and I currently don't have any so I am unable to comment on any of the children's rides. There were several children's ride in here as well as a water squirting station where water shoots out of the floor and you can choose to try and dodge the squirts. There is also a Dragon Theatre where children can watch a show about Dragons. There is one adult ride in this section which is called Dragon's Fury.
Dragon's Fury is basically a roller coaster although you are actually seated in little carts which can seat up to four people, two in the front and two in the back. The cart you are seated in actually spins as it travels around the tracks so when you hit a sharp bend, the whole cart spins. There are several severe corners on this ride where it almost feels like your cart is going to fall off the tracks (the ride is designed like this!).
Beaonland is again aimed at children and includes a numbers of children's rides. To be honest, we didn't spend much time here but we did have a quick walk through and had a look at the miniature rides. There are also a couple of places to eat and a Beano gift shop in this area.
In this section there are two main rides which are the Dragon Falls and the Peeking Heights. There is also an Extreme Games Zones where you can pay extra to take part in a number of activities such as trampolining. There are also several places to eat and drink in this zone (more about that later).
Dragon Falls is basically a traditional log flume ride where you get absolutely soaked at the end when you come sailing down the massive drop. Parts of this ride are high up which means you get some great views across the park as you travel round the various streams.
Peeking Heights is basically a big wheel which travels round slowly. The idea is you can get some lovely views across the park while you are at the top of the ride. I would say that this is one of the calmer rides at the park and isn't designed for thrills but just for people to take in their surroundings.
There are another two rides in this section which are Rameses Revenge and Tomb Blaster. There is also an amusement centre in this zone as well as various places to eat and drink.
For Tomb Blaster, everyone is seated on a large train which takes you deep into an old tomb. Each rider is armed with a laser gun and the idea is you have to shoot the targets (which are lit up) as you go around. I really enjoyed this ride and found it great fun trying to shoot all the targets. Each rider has a little screen in front of them which shows you your score and I have to admit that my boyfriend and I got slightly competitive trying to beat each others scores. At the end of the ride, the train stops and everyone's photograph is shown to you, along with your end score. The train journey itself is very calm so this ride is perfect for people who don't enjoy the fast rides. I thought it was a really great idea to have a ride where each person has to get involved.
On Rameses Revenge, you are secured to the ride with a shoulder bar as well as a lap bar. This ride consists of two rows of seats, each holding approximately 25 people. On this ride you are spun round and round and eventually lowered head first into jets of freezing cold water!! It wasn't our best move going on this ride first, especially as it was a fairly cold day when we went. Be warmed, you get wetter than you think you will!
In this section there is the Runaway Train and the Rattlesnake ride. Again there are also various places to eat and drink. Also in the Mexicana section, there is a photography studio where you can get dressed up in fancy clothing and have your photo taken with various backdrops such as a bar and an old fashioned style living room. The photos are printed in sepia which gives it the effect of looking really old. My boyfriend and I decided to have our photo taken and it cost us £30 for two photos and a key ring, or you could choose the option to have one photo for £20.
This ride is obviously a train which seats around 50 people. The train follows the tracks and you travel through caves and underneath large rocks on the way. To be honest, I found this ride quite tame and pretty short even though the train actually went round the tracks twice! I am glad it wasn't very busy on the day we visited as I think I would have been very disappointed with this ride if I had queued to get on it for a long time.
The Rattlesnake ride is very similar to the Dragon's Fury and you are seated in little carts. You travel around the tracks and up and down hills on the way. There are some harsh turns on this ride and you will find that you end up squashing the person next to you each time you turn a corner.
Food and Drink
There are food and drinks outlets literally everywhere throughout the park although there is a main area called the Market Square where most of the outlets are. I have never been more spoilt for choice as far as food and drinks are concerned. There is literally every single item you can imagine available such as Hot Donuts, Waffle and Ice Cream, Jacket Potatoes, Mexican Food and all the usual fast food shops such as KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut. We had a jacket potato for lunch and each potato was £3.25 with one topping. If you wanted more than one topping, it was another 25p. I was surprised at how cheap it was to be honest as normally I find that places like this really bunk the prices up!
In summary I would definitely recommend a trip here as we did have an enjoyable day out. However, I haven't been to Chessington for about eight years before this visit and I must admit that I was slightly disappointed at the lack of fast ride they have to offer. I have visited Thorpe Park and found that this probably has more rides to choose from. However, having said that when you consider that you can also visit the Sea Life Centre and the Zoo as well as all the rides, then there really is something for everyone.
I felt that Chessington World of Adventures has been designed as a family theme park, there are so many areas for children to play and so many rides aimed at smaller children. I was pleased to see a theme park that caters for the entire family, the faster rides for adult and older children and the smaller rides for the little ones. Then you have the Zoo and the Sea Life Centre which the entire family can enjoy.
I must confess that I was very lucky to receive cheap tickets to this theme park courtesy of the charity Action for Children, as I have a son with Autism. The charity provided tickets for our entire family for £20, which was excellent value. The gate prices are as follows for 2012:
Family of 4 : £120
The prices seem a little more expensive than most of the big theme parks, but this may be due to the fact that this attraction is London-based, whereas we tend to visit the theme parks near where we live in the Midlands.
Chessington was roughly a 3 hour drive from where we live, and the majority of the jorney was by motorway. The park was well signposted from the motorway and easy to locate. There was ample parking space for cars near to the entrance, which meant that we didn't have to walk far to get into the park.
The park is themed on "adventures", with most of the areas having the theme of a particular part of the world. As well as rides, the park also has a zoo and a sealife centre.
I will run through the various areas and explain what is in each area. The areas themselves are quite small. I am used to Alton Towers, where the themed zones are quite large and contain several rides. However, at Chessington, the areas were considerably smaller, with some only containing a single ride. This meant that it was a lot easier to travel around the park, with minimal walking time between zones. The park is not particulalry big, which makes it particularly good for families with young children.
Most of the rides are geared towards young kids and there were not many youths or teenagers in the park. I was quite happy to let my 9 year old daughter and her friends walk around by themselves, which is something I would never do at Alton Towers, which has many youths and young adults visiting. Chessington has a friendly family atmosphere which puts visitors at ease.
The Wild Asia area is mainly themed on the Jungles of India. It contains a large play area called the Temple of Mayhem, which is suitable for kids over 4 years old.
Our favourite ride in this area was called the Monkey Swinger. It was a variation on the traditional swing ride, as it lifted the riders high above the ground at an angle and jets of water would squit up at the riders on the outer chairs, causing everyone to scream. it was a good job we visited on a hot day, as we got quite wet!
The area also contains a jungle bus ride for younger kids and a huge spinning track ride called the Kobra, which we avoided to to the massive queue.
This area has a cafe which serves noodles, a nice change from the usual fast food outlets.
Land of Dragons
I love dragons, so this area was right up my street!
The dragon area was dominated by a large coaster called "Dragon's Fury". The coaster was one of the newer types, with a waltzer-like chair that spins and turns during the ride. Not one for the fainthearted!
There was a large soft play area nearby, which my little boy (aged 7) loved. It was full of clibing frames and slides and was a nice and shady place to retreat from the beating sun. It could have done with a few chairs for the parents, though.
We then played outside on the "canopy capers" area which Involved a little climbing and crawling through nets. Parents, you have been warned! Not dignified at all!
The area had a sandwich cafe , which was nice and quiet, as well as a toilet block. There was also a kids water ride and a pirate-ship type of ride, although I can't quite work out the dragon connection with the latter.
This area was so small, it was like blink-and -you'll-miss-it! It is a shame, because with this spooky theme, they could have done so much more than they have done.
The area contains a Burger King restaurant, which seemed a bit out of place. Surely a spooky cafe would have been better? There was also a cafe called Refresh and a large gift shop.
There were only 2 rides in this area. One was a large spooky coaster called Vampire, which was a nemesis-style coaster, although it did not have any twists or go upside down.
The other ride in Transylvania was the cutesy Bubbleworks, which seemed very out of place, but was one of my favourite rides. Riders sit in a little boat which goes around the soap factory and through fountains of water. It reminded me a bit of Disney's "Small World" ride.
There were two rides in Africa: Toadies crazy cars and the jungle Bouncers.
The main attraction in this area was the arena area, home to the Madagascar show
. The show was great and featured all the characters from the film. The audience were laughing, dancing and clapping their way through the show. My kids loved it.
This is another teeny area. It contained two rides, a pirate ship and one of those little pirate ship carousel rides.
Pirate cove also has a chip shop.
In my opinion, they should have done something similar to Alton Towers and incorporated the Sealife Centre into this area and had a few more pirate-themed activities on offer. It was quite near to the Sealion Show, though.
This was one of the larger themed areas. It was a Chinese themed area and looked amazing with it's red and gold decor. The landscape was dominated by two big attractions: Dragon Falls, the log flume and Peking heights, the big wheel.
This area also contained severeral paid-for activities, including bungees, trampolines and zorbs. These activities were a bit pricey at £5 a time, but I did let the kids go on the zorbs, which they thoroughly enjoyed. I think people who pay full price for entry would resent paying extra money to go on these rides.
This area is Egyptian-themed and unfortunately for us, the main tomb-blaster atraction had broken down.
The area also has a big coaster called Ramses revenge and a flying elephant ride.
The Forbidden Kingdom has a fried chicken restaurant, a bazaar area and a first aid centre.
I loved this area because it was home to my favourite ride, the runaway train! It reminded me of Big Thunder mountain at Disney, which is a great coaster.
There was also a bigger coaster in this zone called Rattlesnake, a "wild mouse" type coaster and a bit of a bone shaker!
There is a Mexican themed restaurant in this zone.
Market square is the main central area containing most of the shops and service areas. Guest services is located here.
Market square has a pizza and pasta restaurant, which is probably the best option if you are really hungry.
There are some kiddie rides in this area and there is also a monorail, which gives great views of the park and zoo. When we were on the monorail, the sealion show was on, so we had a birds-eye view.
Zoo and Sealife
The zoo has a good range of animals, from the large, such as tigers and gorillas, to the smaller otters and birds. In one of the areas, Lorikeet lagoon, visitors can feed the birds by hand.
The zoo looks well maintained and the animals look well cared for.
Many of the Merlin parks are opening their own Sealife centres, as they are owned by the same company. This creates an attraction withan an attraction. Chessington Sealife has an Aztec and Amazonian theme and also has a touch pool where visitors can get up close and personal with the exhibits, including starfish, anemones and crabs.
Disabled visitors can get an exit pass from guest services. You need to provide evidence of your (or your child's) disability and the park will issue the person with a red wristband.
This bad entitles the wearer and up to 3 carers to queue up at the exit of each ride, so that they don't have to wait in line. We found it really useful, although admittedly, the longest queue in the park was only 30 minutes, which is pretty good for such a big theme park. This from someone who remembers queueing for 2 hours for nemesis back in the day.....
The staff give you a card, which has to be stamped with a return time once you have been on a ride. this means that you can't just keep going on the same ride over and over again.
For non-disabled guests, the park offers a fast track ticket, which riders purchase in order to bypass the queues.
Chessington is a user friendly family theme park which is ideal for visitors with kids aged between 3 and 13. Older teenagers and young adults would probably find it a bit babyish.
Despite being quite a small theme park, Chessington packs a lot of activities into a relatively small area and visitors will be hard pressed to do everything in one day. There is a hotel next to the park though, for those wishing to spread their visit over 2 days!
The large central picnic are provides a retreat from the hustle and bustle of park life and you are free to do as much or as little as you want.
My kids, aged 7 and 9 loved it and I am planning to take my 12 year old son next time (he was sick on the day we went).
The park is well maintained and clean and the staff go out of their way to help.
This is a lovely place to spend a day and I was surprised how quiet the park was despite the fact that we visited in the school holidays and given its proximity to London. I visited Legoland in the past, whcih was a lot more crowded than Chessington.
In conclusion, we loved our visit, but I think that in a few years from now, the kids will be too old for it. It is also a bit pricey for the average family, so if I go again I will be looking for offers or redeeming clubcard points to get in.
Chessington can be great for a day out but its good idea to find the cheapest ticket price option
When buying the tickets its best to either pre-buy them online or use vouchers on the gate. Online booking will be £27.60 adult ticket. This online ticket price will save you around £9.00 (so that's your lunch sorted!). Alternatively you can use the 2 for 1 offer vouchers, which you can find when you buy all sorts of products like with magazines, cereal boxes, crisps etc.....and can also find them in newspapers! So it's never too difficult to get hold of those 2 for 1's.
I personally think these 2 for 1 voucher are better than the online pre-booked tickets:
You need to show those vouchers on the day and at the gate with the purchase of one gate priced ticket which is around £37.20. So with this 2 for 1 ticket you can enter the park for £18.50 between the two of you, which works out a lot better than the online ticket price. Also the advantage of this is that if the day you had planned to go out turns out to be one of those moody rainly miserable mornings, you simply just go the following day/week! But you just need to get to the park early before the gates open so that you don't have to queue to get into the park, as you may already have to queue a bit inside the park.
Best month to go
Firstly, it might be a good idea to mention that this review comes from the ages between 24-27.
I always think what months are the best to go, and what I have worked out is if you want to avoid massive queues and crowds (which, like it or not, Chessington will have) best months to go are May, June, and September as this is the time kids are at school. During school times, the park can be practically empty and you just end up walking down what is supposed to be queues and you don't even have to think about buying those fast-track tickets. Most theme parks open around the end of March. July and August are probably the busiest as summers at its peak and kids are off from school.
Anyway, now for the park action...
We went Chessington in May as it is the closest and most convenient for us to get to. We drove to the park - the carpark is free and you will definately find a place to park if you arrive before the gates open. It is a great fun park, but we found that the rides here are not as big and scary as the other parks, eg. Thorpe Park, Alton Towers. So we ended up going on the same rollercoaster-style rides over and over again and when you go on them at least 3 times in a row, they are not as exciting anymore, especially when they are not too "white-knuckle" the first time around.
These are some of rides at Chessington and if you enter the park and go anti-clockwise then you'll might pass them in this order:
Runaway Train (Mexicana) - It has a couple good moments with it's few fast drops. Good for the kids.
Rameses Revenge (Forbidden Kingdom) - Another good one. But has the tendency to make you feel nauseous as it really does spin around a lot, more so than you do on any of the rollercoasters in the park. If you don't fancy getting drenched then don't sit in the centre of any row on the ride as you will definitely get soaked. But go for it, as its so much more fun!
Dragon Falls (Mystic East) - A great ride! Will fit in around 4-5 of your friends including yourself or the whole family. The plunge into the water is absolutely brilliant and you will get drenched, yes you in the front!...quack, quack...
Dragon's fury (Land of the Dragon's) - Best ride in park, for me. You can move your pod around as much as you want and it sits 4 people. The more you allow it to spin around, the more fun you're going to have!
Vampire (Transylvania) - Good for kids and you get a nice view of the park and all the people below you as you fly along like an ummm,..... vampire....
Its lunch time!!
Best thing is to have your lunch when everyone else is not having it. ie. Don't bother with having lunch between 1pm - 2pm as you will have to queue up for your food and will probably not have anywhere to sit down and eat. So it's a good idea to eat before the usual lunch time or after it, as it will be a much better lunching experience. I would recommend the Market Place Donuts (treat yourself why not) and the Pizza and Pasta buffet at Pizza and Pasta.
Sealife and the Zoo:
Sealife and the Zoo are amazing. It just takes you away to a different place.. It great for a break from the park away from the crazy rides for a while, and then return back to the park for more fun.
Worth the money you spent?
Overall I think this park is good for families and children (very young and slightly older) but it may be a bit of a stuggle for teenagers and those older looking for a good thrilling ride to actually find it...as it generally lacks in it. But that doesn't mean you still can't have fun on the rides that they do have there.
I do think Chessington is value for money only because it's a day-outing (ie. you are hopefully spending the WHOLE day there packed with fun and happiness!!), but if you don't have the 2 for 1 vouchers or have just turned up on the gate, then it's definitely not worth around the £37.00 you will be spending. Also, if you are spending most of your time in the queue and don't get to go on all the rides then that's a downside as well. So it's definitely a good idea to avoid busy months to make your ticket worth its price.
(Thank you for reading! - Also posted on Ciao)
Since I was eleven years old, I have been visiting Chessington World of Adventures, nearly every other year. Initially it started as a school trip then as days out with friends. Nowadays its family days out with the children. The reason why I have become attached with Chessington, apart from the other big theme parks such as Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, is that every year Chessington has new rides with different themes. Being just on, the outskirts of London it is very convenient to travel to by car or train.
The rides are great, my old time favourites are the vampire ride and the mystic East, but all the other rides will give any thrill seeker a good adrenaline rush.
The entry fee is similar to the other big attractions but you can get discounts and offers such as one adult pay and child entree is free from many different places like collecting Sainsbury nectar points, Tesco club card points as well as filling up petrol with BP. You do also get family and group discounts, also booking in advance or paying through the internet you can get a discount.
To travel to Chessington by car and your using a GPS devise then you need to put in Chessington world of Adventures, Leatherhead road, Greater London, KT9 2NE.
Chessington is situated on the A243, just two miles from the A3 and M25 (junction 9 or 10).
* From the South, take M25 junction 9
* From the North, take M25 junction 10
* From London, take the A3 to Hook - then follow the signs to Chessington 0n the A243
However, this year the park has introduced a £2.00 parking fee which you can pay for in advance or at the entry gates. Contact the park before hand for more info.
If you want to travel by train then By Rail, then take the South West Train service either from Waterloo, Clapham Junction or from Wimbledon to Chessington South station and then 15mins walk to the theme park.
We paid online to go to the zoo just before Christmas but the trains and roads were closed that day due to the snow. We rang Chessington World of Adventures and asked if we could come another day, they said that was fine as the tickets are valid for 6 months.
We decided we would go on a sunny day in April, I rang ahead to double check all was fine only to be told that we would have to pay an extra £50 because the entire park was open now, not just the zoo. I told the lady that we were not told about this, just that the tickets were valid for 6 months. She tried to claim the tickets were still valid which I pointed out was ridiculous given we'd have to pay an extra £50. I asked instead if we could have a refund, she said no.
I decided to ring again and left a message, a supervisor did call back, but basically said tough luck, no refund as their T&C's state it's non refundable, I pointed out it was impossible to go that day due to the snow and we were given inaccurate information about the ticket being valid for 6 months. He said tough luck.
Rides were unavailable despite paying extra money for specific for passes related to those ride. Asked for a refund and was refused, then they had the cheek bring in security with a prompt security escort out of the venue in front of 10 year old kids. Appaulling customer service, read the full review: http://dixonjones.com/dixon-jones/bad-chessington-review/
visited chessington, 28/10/10 the day was clear a bit chilly what you would expect this time of year.we arrived at about midday as the park had extended opening hours and both myself and familly(4 in all ) wanted to ride vampire in the dark , on arrival at the park there was piles of mud everywhere where works was obviousely being carried out , trenches zigzaged across parking areas which made to an extremly muddy car park, even slow driving could not help but to spray mud all over the cars. We had saved Tesco club points to allow two family members to gain admittance. I previously contacted the park to see if there were any changes to be aware of as my child has a weak bladder, so the express passes are paramount as they cut down waiting times. I purposely asked if they were still available and was advised, by a polite ambassador for the company, to come to the ticket desk just inside the entrance gate to purchase my tickets. I did make a point of stating that I would not be arriving until about 12 noon and was further reassured that the ticket could be purchased throughout the day and that I would have no problem purchasing express tickets. These tickets last year (09) were £7.00 per person but have now been increased to £10.00 per person. As we edged with anticipation to the Express ticket booth for tickets, there was a A4 sheet of paper stating that the express passes were sold out.and when i asked when they sold out I was informed about 11.00 am. However the tickets that cost £40.00 per head were still available. Our 1st port of call was customer services where we found a queue of people nearly as long as the rides with two members of staff attempting to deal with customers enquires insitu. When we finally got into the office to voice our complaint about being fed (which amounts to) lies, we were usherd into a separate office out of ear shot of other complaing customers. I stated that that I was not the only person with this type of complaint, but was informed that they had had very few complaints that day, which contridicted what other people were stating whilst in conversation in this long que. The chap I spoke to called in a manger who informed me that she had not beed on duty that long and that the park was really quite when she arrived, so where have all the unlimited express passes gone? Time now is about 1pm, the manager did express how sorry she was, going on to say that there was no one in that office that would give out this advice (basically doubting my word). She did grant us a pass for one ride of choice. We decided to hit the tomb blaster first as we could see that the queue was fairly short and it was displaying above the door that it would be 65 mins from that point and the queue was at least about half way round. 1 hour and ten mins later I found my self shouting down to staff on the ground level asking if there was a ride problem, I was informed there was and that it would be at least a further 60mins. With that there was a mass exedous from the ride collecting incoming customers on the way. We had now been in the park for over two hours and had not been on one ride. We went back to cust serv to further complain, and was granted a further exit pass for the family, we still had the other pass which we were saving for the vampire when it got dark was told that we need to use that and then come back to see custmer serv for the third time. Whilst in conversation with mangerial staff Iwas informed that they had only a certain amount of express pass tickets that could be allocated, explaing that at some point it would be counter productive as the queues for both normal and express pass holders would be the same and that they have a duty of care towards express paying customers. I ponted out that I could see and agreed with the logic behind this. The manger extended with a "good will gesture" which was a non charge express pass for my family on our next vist. I realiterated the fact that if there are only so many express passes avialable, what would happen should we arrive on a busy day and the express ticket were sold out, meaning that they had reached the breakoff point conterproductivity, she replieed that these tickets will be put aside even thought they dont know if or when we are goning to re visit the park. As they had granted us compensation and clearly the breakoff point is adjustible, I could see no reason why the tickets could not be granted for that day as we were already there, the only reason I could see for not granting the tickets was they would collect a further £100 odd pounds from us on a further visit. Backtracking to to the conversation with the manager, I asked why a notice was not displayed on the entrance booth clearly stating that express passes were sold out, rather than collecting monies from customers only to disapoint them once inside the park. This could have influenced my decision as to whether or not to purchase tickets and enter the park. I purposley asked members of staff throughout our time at the park what the score was on sold out express passes? I was suprised how remarkably consistant the answer was that being that they always pull the expess passes on busy days, it makes people purchase the more expensive ones. It turned out ok for us in the end as we were given passes to go onto the rides we planned to go on which was vampire, log flume, bubble works, and a good will express pass for any merlin park. At this point I should give thanks to the family who gave us their unwanted express tickets to use which gave us a few extra rides. As we left the park we saw posters stating the express passes were sold out, the manager did say that she would sort that out straigt away. A warning for visitors, if you want express passes arrive upon opening or if possibe purchase in advance , the queue length is apparently phoned into a central place to be updated, but this does not calculate the amout of que extending outside of the start reference. Even though all the passes were sold out, the rides we went on had very few people going through the express entrances. I must say that this is not the first time that I HAVE BEED GIVEN INCORRECT INFORMATION IN THE COMPANIES FAVOR.
Chessington World of Adventure is a fun trip for pre teens and younger. I am 14 years old and I still enjoy going to Chessington. I know alot of people my age love Alton Towers & Thorpe Park but they are not as close as Chessington. I'd rather spend a day in Chessington when I wake up around maybe 9am or 10am and it will only take me 30 mins- 1 hr to get there. Whereas TP takes around 1 1/2 hrs - 2hrs and half the time your there your waiting in ques 2 hours long. Chessington is a good adventure for adults aswell as they can relax. You can get on quite a few rides (such as the Vampire Ride and Ramese's Revenge) and still have time for classics like The Flying Jumbos and The Bubbleworks which I still enjoy very much and overall I give it a rating of 4/5 as the food is quite expensive but it is everywhere you go.
We visited Chessington this Sunday for the third time so far this year. Chessington is a family theme park and boasts rides, a sealife centre and a zoo.
*Where is it?*
Chessington is located 12 miles outside of London on the A243. It is easy to get to from the M25 and is well signposted. For those of you using sat nav (we usually do though you really don't need it as it is signposted so well) the postcode is KT9 2NE.
*Arriving at the park*
When you get to the park you will be told where to park. We have only been able to park in the concrete car park once and the other times we have had to park in the overflow car parks which are just grass fields.
After parking your car you basically follow the crowd to the park! It is important to note which gate you came in, otherwise you could end up going out of the wrong one and finding it difficult to find your car.
Once at the park there are ticket booths to buy your tickets. Queues here are usually quite short and you will be served within 5 minutes. If you have pre-booked tickets or have annual passes you go straight on through the gates where you will have the option to get a map of the park. I would recommend getting a map as otherwise you are bound to miss things!
The park is divided into different lands, making it easier to find the rides you want to go on. Now I will tell you a bit about each land.
FORBIDDEN KINGDOM: This is home to Tomb Blaster and Rameses Revenge. Tomb Blaster is a laser shooting game which the whole family can join in, there is no height restriction but anyone smaller than 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult. Rameses Revenge is similar to Ripsaw at Alton Towers, everyone sits in a row and you are swung upside down and water is squirted at you. You must be 1.4m to ride Rameses Revenge.
LAND OF THE DRAGONS: This is home to another one of the parks larger rides - Dragons Fury. This is a rollercoaster which spins you round as you are going round the track making you very dizzy by the time you get off! If you have been to Alton Towers, it is similar to Sonic Spinball. To ride this you must be 1.2m but it is worth noting that even some adults hate this ride! Also in this section there are a number of things for younger children to do including Dragons Playhouse (soft play), Dragons Tale Theatre (shows) and Canopy Capers (walkways through the sky).
MARKET SQUARE: This is home to the main shops in the park and also a few food outlets. Here you can go on the Safari Skyway which is a skyride around the park. This ride is really good as it allows you to see a number of the zoo animals from a birds eye view. When we went on this we had a great view of the lions and tigers which both the kids and adults loved. There is no height restriction for this but anyone under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult. Market Square is also home to Hocus Pocus Hall, a magical 3D experience for younger families only.
MEXICANA: This is home to two of the parks rollercoasters, Rattlesnake and the Runaway Mine Train. Rattlesnake is a ride for older children and adults only as there is a height restriction of 1.4m. It goes around the track and throws you about so not for those who bruise easily! The Runaway Mine Train is more for families, minimum height is 0.9m and everyone always seems to love this ride.
MYSTIC EAST: This is home to the parks flume which is a brilliant ride! Beware you will get wet! Minimum height is 0.9m so its one for the family but there are steep drops so not for those who don't like scary rides. In this section there is also Peeking Heights, a big wheel which allows you to view the park and surrounding area.
PIRATES COVE: This is home to two rides of a boat theme though neither are on water! Black Buccaneer is a large pirate ship ride, minimum height is 0.9m and Seastorm is a smaller ride for younger children.
TOYTOWN: This section of the park is for smaller children. Here you will find a carousel, cars to drive and flying pink elephants!
TRANSYLVANIA: Probably my favourite section of the park. Here you will find Vampire, a firm favourite ride at the park. A rollercoaster where you are suspended by the top of the chair on the track, this is great fun and very fast! Minimum height for this is 1.1m but those under 1.3 must be accompanied by an adult. Here you will also find BubbleWorks, an indoor water ride which is fab for families. Anyone under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult.
WILD ASIA: This land is new for 2010 and is home to the new ride Kobra. This ride spins you down the track at 43mph making you very dizzy! In my opinion this is one of the parks better rides and will appeal to those who prefer faster rides. Minimum height is 1.2m. In this area there are also dodgems, a chair swinger and a soft play area.
*The Sealife Centre*
The Sealife centre is a very good size and is nearly as large as the ones you will find outside of the park. There are a number of shows/feeds throughout the day and there is always an interactive rock pool that you can have a go in.
In the centre you will find sharks, rays, jellyfish, starfish, puffer fish, piranhas, seahorses and of course all the characters from Finding Nemo.
The Sealife centre is a good size but always very busy. You can expect to spend around half an hour in here.
The zoo is quite small but there are a great deal of different animals which are absolutely brilliant to see and we all saw this as an added bonus to the park. We always like to spend a couple of hours wandering around here when we visit. The zoo is home to over 1000 animals.
You can see lions, cheetahs, tigers, gorillas, meerkats, zebras, sealions and penguins and aswell as this there is also a Childrens Zoo which is home to farm animals.
All of the animals seem to live a good life, their enclosures are of a good size and they always look clean. Throughout the day there are a number of talks and presentations and if you are planning a visit it is worth noting that the sealion show is always worth a watch!
*Shopping and Eating*
There are a number of shops around the park, including ones which are specifically for rides. Then there is also the big shop in the Market Square which stocks merchandise from all of the rides, the zoo and the sealife centre. Prices are reasonable and they often have some offers on. My niece got herself a Chessington skipping rope for £2 and a Sealife notepad and pen for £4.
There are a number of places to eat here including Burger King, a fried chicken restaurant, hotdog stands, doughnut stands and sweet shops. Prices again are ok. 4 of us ate in Burger King and it cost around £15.
*So what do we think of Chessington?*
We like Chessington. We like the fact that there are rides and a zoo here but it is definitely suited to families rather than adults. This is because there are not a great deal of big rides and I can imagine older kids getting bored easily. From a ride perspective, it is nowhere near as good as Alton Towers and if we lived closer to Alton Towers we would probably choose to visit Alton Towers over Chessington.
However, we like do enjoy visiting Chessington as it is a super place for families to go as there is something for everyone and a great deal of rides which the whole family can go on together. We always enjoy our days here and will definitely return within the next month or so.
*Opening Times and Ticket Prices*
The park is usually open from 10am-6pm (weekends) or 10am-5pm (weekdays, term time). At Halloween they have longer opening hours and over the winter months they have Zoo Days where none of the rides are open and instead you can visit the zoo and sealife centre for a reduced price.
On the door prices are as follows but discounts can be had on the website or by using a 2 for 1 voucher as these are always floating around:
Aged 12 or over: £36.00
Under 12's: £26.00
Kids under 1m: Free
Family of 4: £98.00
0871 663 4477 - General Enquiries
Chessington World of Adventures
Or visit the website at www.chessington.com
We enjoy visiting Chessington and think the majority of families will too. There is plenty to do here and lots to see for everyone meaning everyone can enjoy their day out. Prices are quite high but average for parks of this kids so it is certainly worth a visit.
Although a trip here can be expensive if you paid full price you can always find offers for buy one get one free which means a family of 4 could get in for under 60 pounds. You can also pay with nectar points and it cost 10 pounds worth of tesco club card points.
We went there a few times last year as we had annual merlin passes and my children aged 10 and 6 did not get bored of it. The rides are mainly suited for children of this age and in a few years my ten year old would have probably out grown it as there are limited fast rides and none white knuckle rides.
It is aimed at the younger family and plays that role well, with numerous rides and attractions. The only down side is all the rides seem to get extremley busy and a popular ride such as the log flume or vampire ride the wait can easily be over an hour.
There are lots of places to eat and many offering two for one after a certain time so plan your trip well and shop for deals and you will have a good day out also aim to arrive early to do all the popular rides first to save yourself queueing later
Strongly advise against this park. Costs £117 for a family ticket but what you don't know until you get there is that you are forced to pay an extra £40 per person to purchase express passes. Basically with an express pass you go straight to the front of the queue. This means that if you don;t have an express pass then your queue does not move as the express queue always takes priority. You then have to wait between 60 and 90 minutes for each ride. In the end the children decide that the rides aren't worth the queues and everyone leaves miserable. There are also a number of maintenance issues as twice the rides failed with technical problems whilst we were queuing.
Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park and zoo in south-west London, England. Historically opening as a zoo, a theme park was developed alongside it, opening in 1987. The Park is open between March and October, opening at 10am, and closing at varying times during the season.
The park has a selection of attractions, ranging from the small roller coasters to to family-oriented rides. The park is aimed more towards younger childern and familys as the park does not have many Thrill rides. The park also has animals, many of which can be seen from the Safari Skyway an elevated monorail around the zoo.
The park is split into ten lands, each with its own individual theming and rides.
Chessington Zoo is split in two, the west of the park is home to Trails of the Kings, with gorillas, tigers, lions and Bearcats. The east side is home to various smaller enclosures home to capybaras, otters, monkeys, birds and pengins. There is also a sealion enclosure, which features shows several times a day. Chessingtom have there own Zookeepers on site care for the animal.
In 2008 a Sea Life Centre opened home to various tanks containing British and tropical fish. The centre also houses a glass walk-through tunnel home to sharks, rays and various tropical fish.
The Forbidden Kingdom is themed around Ancient Egypt. This area is home to two rides. Tomb Blaster and Rameses Revenge. This area could do with some updating..
Land of the Dragons
The Land of the Dragons opened in 2004 and is theme of course around Dragons. the are has a sellction of small kids and family rides.Dragon's Fury, Griffin's Galleon, Canopy Capers, Sea Dragons, Dragon's Playhouse and the Dragon's Tale Theatre.
Market Square is the central hub of the park and has shops, video arcades and food stalls through out. The entracne to the Safari Skyway is here as well as Hocus Pocus Hall. The Skyways is very old and could do with some now cars but the view of the animals are very good
Mexicana is of course themed on Mexico and the Far West. The area is home to the Rattlesnake and The Runaway Train. This area really is in need of a paint and some new rides. The area look very run down and does not look to good.
The Mystic East is an oriental-themed land. It is home to, Dragon Falls & Peeking Heights. This are is big but with only 2 rides here it is a waste of space.
Pirates Cove is home to the Black Buccaneer, a swinging pirate and also Seastorm.
Toytown is the area for smaller kids the rides are all perfect for them and include a Carousel, Tiny Truckers, Toadie's Crazy Cars & Flying Jumbos.
Transylvania is home to two of the parks iconic rides. The main ride in this area is the Vampire and the second is the Bubbleworks. Both of these rides are very popular but again I think this ares could be used better with more in it and could do with some TLC
The park is very good for kids and familys but leave a lot to be desired with adults and teenages. The price of £37 is very exspensive considering they park is in a poor state.
Some years ago Chessington was the up to date theme park and Thorpe Park was lagging somewhat behind. Since then the major investment and new rides have gone to Thorpe Park so they are now aimed at very different markets. I visit Chessington every year with a group of 9-12 year olds and it is ideal for this age range, and younger.
Chessington offers something for most 'tweenagers'. The safari skyway offers a birds eye view of the animals in the smallish zoo section, as well as a quick way to see them without having to walk around them. Chessington has long since dropped the 'zoo' from its title. Most of the bigger animals have been moved elsewhere and although you could spend an hour or two looking around the animals I wouldn't go there primarily for that. In the off peak season you can pay just to go and see the zoo.
There are a variety of rides for young children, families, such as Bubbleworks and mildly scary ones for children who fancy them, such as the Pirate Ship. Vampire is described as a first rollercoaster and fits this discription well, although very tame compared to other rollercoasters. Only two rides have the maximum 1.4m hight restriction so most older primary age children will be able to get on most of the rides.
However Chessington is not an ideal destination for teenagers and adults who enjoy fast/ scary rides. Thorpe Park and other theme parks fit this group better, although the admissions are more expensive.
Avoid entering any shops with children, or if you are easily tempted as the prices are astronomical. The food is also expensive, with limited choice. We find it easier to take a packed lunch that can be eaten in the queues to maximise ride time, especially important on a busy day.
If at all possible it is well worth going on a non peak day, ie not during school holidays or weekends. The queues are almost non existent. If this isn't possible arrive when it opens, then visit rides with the longest queues, or the ones you most want to go on first. Rather than go around the park from the entrance (most people go clockwise) walk to the furthest part of the park first (log flume etc.) and do these first whilst the queues are shorter. Then do smaller rides in the middle of the day when queues are longest and bigger rides again at the end, when many have left.
Chessington World of Adventures is situated just off Junction 9 of the M25 in Surrey. It is a theme park for all the family. From March till October (actual dates vary each year) the theme park rides at Chessington are open. For the off-peak parts of the year Chessington has something else to offer, the park opens up for just the zoo which is small in comparison to some zoos but still manages to hold a reasonable selection of animals. Last year Chessington also opened a hotel in conjunction with Holiday Inn.
The rides at Chessington are of various levels which makes the park suitable for all ages. Rides like Bubble Works offer a nice gentle entertainment whereas Vampire offers a thrill for anyone who enjoys it. There is a wide variety of food available at Chessington to suit every need although it is a bit expensive, as you would expect in a place like this.
I personally prefer Chessington to the other local theme parks as although I do like rollercoaster's I also like calmer rides and I find that the zoo gives it an extra edge. The entry fee to Chessington is slightly less than the other Merlin theme parks but still expensive, however, it is quite common to be able to get vouchers for Chessington and this makes the trips much better value for money.